Human Rights at Work - Lee Swepston©

5 August 2010  

Articles on International Labour Law

"You cannot possibly have a broader base for any government than that which includes all the people with all their rights in their hands, and with an equal power to maintain their rights."

-- William Lloyd Garrison,


    and the World of Work

U.S. Labour Law in the Context
     of International Labour Law

International Labor Standards
     and the US: IRRA 2003

Supervisory Mechanisms
     of the ILO

Globalization and
     International Labor Standards

Justiciability of Economic,
     Social and Cultural Rights

The ILO and Human Rights
     Access to the ILO

Prison Labour and
     International Human Rights

International Labor Standards:
     Crucial to China's Development

The Universal Declaration &
     Workers' Rights - 60 Years Later


Curriculum Vitae
Indigenous & Tribal Peoples
Equality in the Workplace
Protection of children

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This section includes articles and other writings on many aspects of international law, labour questions, and human rights more generally. It will be updated periodically. Most of the material here will be mine, but I shall try to feature the writing of others as well, with their permission. Much of it has been published elsewhere, but not all of it is generally accessible.

Sculpture on ILO grounds, gift of the people of India. Photo by Paula.

There is a great deal of writing about international human rights, but little about the very different and very rich approach of the ILO to international legal questions. Until fairly recently human rights researchers tended to ignore the labour aspects of the subject, and seemed to think that it was not human rights if it had not happened at the United Nations. But at the ILO we have been taking practical and pragmatic approaches since 1919 to the definition and implementation of the rights that belong to the largest goup of people on earth - people who work, people who are trying to build a future for themselves and their families, people who produce or simply survive.

Interest in labour questions in international law has increased enormously with the advent of globalization. Whether countries are protecting basic rights at work has become a question that determines trade privileges, and is gradually becoming known as a crucial factor in sustainable development. Protestors at the G8 summits and at World Trade Organization meetings are calling for labour rights - a new phenomenon. That makes these articles, and the very rich literature from the ILO more generally, of interest to everyone interested in development.

The sculpture shown above was a gift of the Indian people to the ILO.

This page is maintained by Paula Swepston©
Last modified on 5 August 2010
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